Hong Kong has no plan to further relax border controls, says city leader

Hong Kong has no plan to further relax border controls, says city leader
FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a news conference in Hong Kong, China January 31, 2022. REUTERS/Lam Yik

Now that Hong Kong has eased COVID rules with social distancing, quarantine and travel (to name a few), many have been speculating that border controls would be next on the list. But Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she has no intention of easing border restrictions anytime soon, even with persistent pressure from business groups to reopen.

On the flip side, Singapore, one of Hong Kong’s rival financial hubs, abolished inbound testing and quarantine requirements last week for vaccinated travelers.

While international business in the city remains stagnant for the time being, mid-May marks the second phase of relaxing social-distancing measures.

Key comments:

“As far as border controls, these are still very important measures in order to reduce the importation of infected cases into Hong Kong, especially when many places are already removing their restrictions and social-distancing measures, etc.,” said Carrie Lam. While the world has been learning to live with the pandemic, Hong Kong is maintaining its zero-COVID mentality.

“Whether it’s a question of perception or whether it’s a question of what’s allowed or not allowed, I don’t know the answer to that. But basically, it’s simply nowhere near enough to get international business on the move again,” said George Cautherley, vice chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, referring to the city’s approach to border restrictions. “Too little, far too late.”